Since October 1, 2017, Massachusetts vehicle inspection stations have been required to purchase five cameras to record vehicles in real-time.
Forcing vehicle inspection stations to pay to for government surveillance cameras sounds familiar.
To call the MVC program intrusive, doesn’t really do it justice.
Last year an article in the Boston Globe warned everyone that inspection stations are spying on much more than your license plate.
“Service stations will now use cameras to ensure accurate inspections, document the status of vehicles being inspected, and allow for video conferencing for inspectors if they need technical support, the RMV said. Vehicles arriving for inspection will have photographs taken of their VIN, odometer, front license plate, and back license plate. Staff members conducting the inspection will also be photographed.”
Registration inspectors are required to use a handheld camera to record a vehicles VIN and mileage. But an I-Team news article claims the camera is also equipped with facial recognition software.
Does forcing vehicle inspectors to purchase surveillance cameras make them an agent of the state?
Imagine pulling up to a state inspection station and have the police show up because your vehicle was flagged by law enforcement for failure to pay child support, excise tax or because it got a hit from a secret hotlist. In some states, police could be called because a person couldn’t afford to pay a parking ticket.
According to the Massachusetts DoT, Applus is being paid close to $30 million dollars to keep a database of every driver.
How big is Applus’s database?
Forget the recent Equifax databreach of 147 million people, that’s a drop in the bucket. Some companies have databases measured in the billions.
Experian a company known for tracking everyone’s credit scores, keeps a database of 7 billion driving records, titles, registrations, odometer readings and accident related information. And V12 Auto a vehicle marketing company boasts about having 6 billion consumer records and specialized databases that “follow the car”.
So, how many billions of vehicle records do you think Applus has?
Law enforcement could use vehicle inspection records to create an accurate picture of your travels.
A police officer could figure out how many miles a person has driven each year and use that average to determine where they went. If they combine their miles driven with hotel, food receipts and prescription drug purchases they will have a pretty good picture of their travel history.
Applus doesn’t hide the fact that ‘they work with government at all levels – city, county, state, national and international‘.
Does anyone really think law enforcement doesn’t have access to vehicle inspection records?
At last years American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators conference, they held a two hour law enforcement roundtable discussion about information sharing (page 4) and mobile drivers licenses (page 8).
If you still have doubts about companies collecting and sharing personal vehicle information, you should check out DMV123 which offers real-time data to ‘qualified companies’ wink, wink.
Given Applus’s record of working with government agencies at all levels, it’s safe to assume their database is accessible to lots of government agencies.
Turning inspection stations into mini-data collection centers is wrong, what’s next gas stations?